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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 184

(Question No. 823)


Senator MacGibbon asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 2 May 1984:

(1) How many Health Fund employees in Queensland were retrenched in the period after the Medicare program was announced up to the inception of Medicare.

(2) How many Health Fund employees have been retrenched since 1 February 1984.

(3) Was any agreement made with the Health Fund to reserve Health Insurance Commission jobs for those people made redundant due to the introduction of Medicare; if so, how many positions were to be reserved.

(4) How many employees who were previously employed with the Health Fund are now employed in Medicare offices.


Senator Grimes —The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) It is not known how many Health Fund employees were retrenched in the period after the Medicare program was announced up to the inception of Medicare. It is understood that there were no retrenchments.

(2) It is understood that 83 employees of the Medical Benefits fund in Queensland and the Northern Territory were retrenched with effect from 12 April 1984.

(3) The Health Insurance Commission (with the approval of the Minister) has adopted a policy of preference in recruitment for health fund staff, subject to applications from that source meeting basic selection criteria. The number of positions which fell within this policy in Queensland and the Northern Territory is 229. In addition, I advised the honourable senator's colleague Senator Martin on 3 August 1983, that 'if people want to move out of the private health funds in February or March 1984, they will be able to do so and take up employment with the Commission'. (Hansard, page 743)

(4) 118 former employees of health funds have been recruited by the Health Insurance Commission since November 1983 and 110 are still employed by the Commission. Approximately 50 of the 83 employees retrenched by the Medical Benefits Fund in April 1984 have applied for positions with the Commission and their applications are under consideration.